Canada's women's and men's wheelchair basketball teams to go for gold on Saturday

    RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil, Aug. 18 /CNW Telbec/ - Both Canada's men's and
women's wheelchair basketball teams are playing the United States for gold
Saturday night at the Parapanamerican Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
    Playing in a round-robin format, Canada's women's team handily beat
El Salvador 66-14 on Friday to ensure themselves of a berth in the gold medal
match. They play the United States, the only team that beat the Canucks in the
    High scorers for Canada against El Salvador were Cindy Ouellet, of Quebec
City, QC, and Kendra Ohma, of Calgary, AB, who both had 14 points.
    Chantal Benoit, of Ottawa, ON, chalked Canada's earlier loss to the
United States to missing easy baskets.
    "We're primed for the final match," she said.
    Playing in a pool format, Canada's men's basketball team downed Argentina
72-30 in the men's semi-final to advance to the final. Canada will play the
United States, which beat Brazil 79-35 on Friday.
    Canada's game against Argentina started off close. Canada had trouble
finding the basket and the score was 17-14 at the end of the first quarter.
Then second-quarter substitute David Eng, of Montreal, QC, scored a basket on
his first touch and ignited the Canadians. The game was 33-20 in Canada's
favour at the end of the half. In the second half, Canada shut Argentina down.
    Both the men's and women's teams have earned a spot at the Beijing 2008
Paralympic Summer Games. The top four teams in the Parapanamerican Games and
the top three in the men's are eligible for the Beijing Games.

    Here's how Canada did in the other sports:


    Kris Vriend, of Edmonton, AB, won gold in the women's F36 discus with a
best throw of 19.09m, but she still wasn't completely happy. Canada also
picked up two bronze medals - by Stefanie Reid, of Kingston, ON, in the
women's T44 200m final in 29.73, and Megan Muscat, of Windsor, ON, in the
women's T37 200m final in 33.86.
    "I'm not happy. I just didn't have the pop. It's something that I'm going
to have to work on," said Vriend. "After the first throw, I was already in
first place and I knew I was going to win the gold. I think I need to be
challenged more."
    It was Muscat's first medal of the Parapanamerican Games. She attributed
her success to an "explosive start."
    "I'm happy with my time; it's consistent with the times I've been having
in the 200m. I really wanted to start fast because I knew the American was
right there behind me."
    Sabra Hawkes, of the United States, placed first in the event.
    Reid, who broke her prosthetic running blade, said the race was also
about trying out her new one.
    "I've broken three running legs this season, which isn't normal. This leg
is a little stiffer than my last," she said. "This is a test for feeling the
new leg out. It's better to do that now than next September (during the
Beijing Paralympic Summer Games)."
    William Stanley, of Calgary, AB, was seventh in the men's T13 100m final
in 12.02, while Jonathan Dunkerley, of Ottawa, ON, and his guide Sean Young,
of Ottawa, ON, did not start the men's T11 200m.


    Rookie Alexander Radoman, of Brantford, ON, finished at the bottom of the
81kg class, after losing to Harley Arruda, of Brazil, in five minutes and
Isao Alonso, of Cuba, in three minutes 30 seconds.
    Radoman, who has only been practicing judo for about a year, though says
the Parapanamerican Games have been a valuable learning experience.
    "I went the full five minutes against the Brazilian, with all the
Brazilian fans chanting. The fans were going crazy. I learned about mentally
dealing with the crowd," he said. "Even though I won't be going to Beijing,
I'm going to stick with judo and get better."


    Canada posted its first win at the Parapanamerican Games 25-8, 25-12,
25-10 against Costa Rica. Canada faces Brazil on Saturday. If Canada wins that
game, it moves onto the gold medal match. If it loses, it has a chance at
    The Canadian team was able to really shut the door at the halfway point
of each set, something it struggled with against Brazil and the United States.
    Glen Stewart, of Kamloops, BC, once again led Canada's scoring with 21
points on 13 kills, three blocks and five service aces. He's the leading
scorer of the tournament with 40 points on 25 kills, seven blocks and eight
ace serves.
    Head coach/player Jose Rebelo said Canada used the game against a
developing Costa Rica to prepare for tomorrow's match.
    "We looked at it as practice for Brazil. Costa Rica does some of the same
things as Brazil. Both teams will dump it back on the first or second contact
rather than setting things up. We have to be ready for those balls," he said.
    Mikael Bartholdy, of Calgary, AB, and Chad Drummond, of Edmonton, AB,
provided solid defence.


    Canada had another good day at the pool, winning five gold, seven silver
and four bronze medals.
    Stephanie Dixon, of Victoria, BC, set a new Parapanamerican Games record
of 4:44.18 in the women's S9 400m freestyle in taking the gold. The old record
was 4:45.21, which she set in 2006.
    Dixon was named Canadian ambassador of the Rio 2007 Parapanamerican Games
earlier this year, and has been helping raise awareness of the need for
sporting opportunities for people with physical disabilities between her
    The other Canadian swimmers winning gold were Chelsey Gotell, of
Antigonish, NS, in the women's S13 50m freestyle in 28.56; Drew Christensen,
of New Westminster BC, in the men's S8 400m freestyle in 5:11.42; Andrea Cole,
of London, ON, in the women's S8 400m freestyle in 5:35.01; and
Donovan Tildesley, of Vancouver BC, in the men's SM11 200m individual medley
in 2:34.53.


    Real Poudrier, of Montreal, QC, had the game of his life to win the
bronze for him and his partner in the round-robin men's team competition by
class. Playing in class 9-10, Poudrier and his partner Martin Pelletir, of
Gatineau, QC, were down 2-0 to Venezuela, when they mounted their comeback.
Poudrier rallied back from a 10-9 deficit in the fifth for a 12-10 win over
favourite Carlos Fasanaro of Venezuela to take the match and the medal.
    "It's the best game Real has ever played, and he picked a good time to do
it," said table tennis coach John Macpherson.
    In class 8, Ian Kent, of Eastern Passage, NS, and team-mate
Masoud Mojtahed, a Canadian resident of Austin, TX, beat Chile 3-1 to advance
to the gold medal match on Saturday.
    Barry Butler, of Ottawa, ON, and his partner Gerard Brule, of Montreal,
QC, lost 3-0 to Venezuela.

For further information:

For further information: Norma Reveler, Senior Coordinator,
Communications, Cell phone in Rio: (011) 5521 8883 4857, Office phone in Rio:
(011) 5521 2007 9759 (no set office hours),

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